WKTI kicked to curb

A poignant part of Milwaukee’s call letters is history. WKTI-FM dropped its Hot AC format today and flipped to adult hits “The New 94.5 The Lake”, an obvious reference to Milwaukee’s proximity to Lake Michigan (as is our city.)

Also gone is the WKTI call letters, which have been used at the frequency for 34 years. Pending approval by the FCC, the station’s new call letters are WLWK-FM.

The Journal Communications-owned station says the station was created by listener feedback: “Over the last several months, thousands of Milwaukee radio listeners were interviewed, and their feedback helped craft this new radio station, designed to meet their changing tastes,” according to Operations Manager Tom Land.

In other words, they used a lot – and I mean a lot – of “market research”.

One could wonder why WKTI was eager to make a change – the station tied for twelveth place, in the summer book (no PPMs in Milwaukee yet), which is quite respectable ranking, even for Milwaukee.

The adults hits format is similar to what Nine FM had the last four years – We play anything. However, it has struggled here, as Jack FM (WJMK-FM in Chicago) isn’t doing as well as hoped, and Newsweb pulled the plug on Nine FM a few weeks ago. Whatever the case, the switch made by Journal Communications is a very huge risk.

Trivia: Of course, this isn’t the first time “Lake” has been used as a moniker of as part of a station’s call letters or its’ slogan. Remember the old WLAK-FM, 93.9? It was a “beautiful music” station, then switched to a soft AC format around 1983. The call letters switched to WLIT-FM in 1989, a.k.a “The Lite”, which it still uses today.

Updated at 7:23 a.m. on 2008-11-07